Business News Digital Retail

Access out-performing ownership in entertainment retail

By | Published on Tuesday 7 March 2017

Entertainment Retailers Association

To think, there was once a time when we debated whether ‘access’ or ‘ownership’ platforms would come to dominate the online entertainment market. The fact we don’t have that debate any more pretty much confirms that everyone has conceded that the access model is the future, though if you wanted further confirmation of that, then the UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association has just confirmed it. So, that’s the confirmation confirmed.

According to the latest stats pack from the trade group that represents music, film and gaming retailers in the UK, 51.3% of entertainment retail revenues in 2016 were generated by subscription services rather than the selling of downloads or discs, ie services that provide subscribers with access to content, rather than selling the customer digital files or physical product that they then own for life. In terms of actual money, that’s £3.24 billion generated by access services and £3.07 billion by ownership.

In the early days of digital, ownership platforms dominated in most key markets, which really meant iTunes in the music space. But the rise of Spotify, Netflix et al is changing all that – though, of course, the ERA stats also confirm the shift is still ongoing, with physical product and downloads combined still nearly half the wider entertainment retail market, for now.

Elsewhere, the ERA figures reveal that less than a quarter of entertainment retail now takes place on the high street, with streaming services, download platforms and online mail-order operations now together accounting for 77.7% of home music, movie and gaming sales.

Commenting on all this, ERA boss Kim Bayley says: “We are seeing the rise of a pay monthly generation in entertainment. Rather than buying music, video or games outright, the British public is being won over by rental or all-you-can eat services which are available 24/7. If downloads represented the first digital revolution in entertainment, we are now at digital 2.0, the subscription age”.